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Flag of Malta
Map of Malta
Introduction Malta
Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both World Wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has transformed itself into a freight transshipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination. Malta became an EU member in May 2004.
Geography Malta
Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy)
Geographic coordinates:
35 50 N, 14 35 E
Map references:
total: 316 sq km
land: 316 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
196.8 km (does not include 56.01 km for the island of Gozo)
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 25 nm
Mediterranean; mild, rainy winters; hot, dry summers
mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Ta'Dmejrek 253 m (near Dingli)
Natural resources:
limestone, salt, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 31.25%
permanent crops: 3.13%
other: 65.62% (2005)
Irrigated land:
20 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
very limited natural fresh water resources; increasing reliance on desalination
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
the country comprises an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) being inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
People Malta
400,214 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.1% (male 35,264/female 33,368)
15-64 years: 69.1% (male 139,890/female 136,767)
65 years and over: 13.7% (male 23,554/female 31,371) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 38.7 years
male: 37.2 years
female: 40.1 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.42% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
10.22 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.86 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.34 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.01 years
male: 76.83 years
female: 81.31 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.5 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
less than 500 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (2003 est.)
noun: Maltese (singular and plural)
adjective: Maltese
Ethnic groups:
Maltese (descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians, with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock)
Roman Catholic 98%
Maltese (official), English (official)
definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 92.8%
male: 92%
female: 93.6% (2003 est.)
Government Malta
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Malta
conventional short form: Malta
local long form: Repubblika ta' Malta
local short form: Malta
Government type:
name: Valletta
geographic coordinates: 35 54 N, 14 31 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
none (administered directly from Valletta); note - local councils carry out administrative orders
21 September 1964 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 21 September (1964)
1964 constitution; amended many times
Legal system:
based on English common law and Roman civil law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Edward FENECH ADAMI (since 4 April 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister Lawrence GONZI (since 23 March 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
elections: president elected by the House of Representatives for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 29 March 2004 (next to be held by April 2009); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president for a five-year term; the deputy prime minister is appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
election results: Eddie FENECH ADAMI elected president; House of Representatives vote - 33 out of 65 votes
Legislative branch:
unicameral House of Representatives (usually 65 seats; note - additional seats are given to the party with the largest popular vote to ensure a legislative majority; members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 12 April 2003 (next to be held by August 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - PN 51.7%, MLP 47.6%, AD 0.7%; seats by party - PN 34, MLP 31
Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court; Court of Appeal; judges for both courts are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
Political parties and leaders:
Alternativa Demokratika/Alliance for Social Justice or AD [Harry VASSALLO]; Malta Labor Party or MLP [Alfred SANT]; Nationalist Party or PN [Lawrence GONZI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John LOWELL
chancery: 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 462-3611, 3612
FAX: [1] (202) 387-5470
consulate(s): New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Molly BORDONARO
embassy: 3rd Floor, Development House, Saint Anne Street, Floriana, VLT 01
mailing address: P. O. Box 535, Valletta, CMR01
telephone: [356] 2561 4000
FAX: [356] 21 243229
Flag description:
two equal vertical bands of white (hoist side) and red; in the upper hoist-side corner is a representation of the George Cross, edged in red
Economy Malta
Economy - overview:
Major resources are limestone, a favorable geographic location, and a productive labor force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has few domestic energy sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles), and tourism. Continued sluggishness in the European economy is holding back exports, tourism, and overall growth.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$8.122 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$5.39 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.3% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$20,300 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 23%
services: 74% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
160,000 (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 22%
services: 75% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7.8% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.3% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
25.1% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $2.503 billion
expenditures: $2.703 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers; pork, milk, poultry, eggs
tourism, electronics, ship building and repair, construction, food and beverages, textiles, footwear, clothing, tobacco
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
2.291 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
2.13 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
19,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
$-966.2 million (2006 est.)
$2.425 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactures
Exports - partners:
France 15.4%, US 14.4%, Singapore 12.3%, UK 11.3%, Germany 11.2%, Italy 5.1%, Libya 4.2% (2005)
$4.077 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured and semi-manufactured goods; food, drink, tobacco
Imports - partners:
Italy 32.3%, UK 11.5%, France 9.6%, Germany 8%, US 5.5%, Singapore 4.1% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.065 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$188.8 million (2005)
Economic aid - recipient:
Currency (code):
Maltese lira (MTL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Maltese liri per US dollar - 0.37 (2006), 0.34578 (2005), 0.34466 (2004), 0.37723 (2003), 0.43362 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Malta
Telephones - main lines in use:
202,100 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
324,000 (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: automatic system satisfies normal requirements
domestic: submarine cable and microwave radio relay between islands
international: country code - 356; 2 submarine cables; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 18, shortwave 6 (1999)
255,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
6 (2000)
280,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
14,025 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6 (2002)
Internet users:
127,200 (2005)
Transportation Malta
1 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2006)
total: 2,227 km
paved: 2,014 km
unpaved: 213 km (2004)
Merchant marine:
total: 1,220 ships (1000 GRT or over) 23,917,414 GRT/38,685,924 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 434, cargo 344, chemical tanker 105, combination ore/oil 1, container 59, liquefied gas 7, livestock carrier 1, passenger 15, passenger/cargo 14, petroleum tanker 146, refrigerated cargo 43, roll on/roll off 33, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 16
foreign-owned: 1,162 (Austria 1, Azerbaijan 2, Bangladesh 3, Belgium 10, Bulgaria 13, Canada 18, China 14, Croatia 10, Cyprus 15, Denmark 6, Estonia 4, France 6, Germany 64, Greece 495, Hong Kong 2, Iceland 4, India 1, Iran 14, Israel 23, Italy 29, Japan 1, South Korea 6, Latvia 40, Lebanon 10, Monaco 1, Netherlands 6, Norway 49, Pakistan 1, Poland 27, Portugal 3, Romania 9, Russia 70, Slovenia 3, Spain 6, Sweden 3, Switzerland 21, Syria 7, Taiwan 2, Turkey 123, UAE 5, UK 8, Ukraine 24, US 3)
registered in other countries: 8 (Panama 3, Portugal 1, Russia 4) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Marsaxlokk, Valletta
Military Malta
Military branches:
Armed Forces of Malta (AFM; includes air and maritime elements) (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 90,651
females age 18-49: 87,047 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 74,525
females age 18-49: 71,333 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$38.168 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Malta
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
minor transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007